A little over a year ago, I wrote about my hurt from the estrangement I imposed between my father and me. I also wrote about our subsequent reunion, which was made possible by serious efforts on my behalf, which included visiting a therapist for guidance and processing. The results include not only a healed relationship but healed personal wounds as well.

I had made a lot of assumptions about my dad for many years regarding the way he thought and felt about me. At some point, I decided for him that he didn’t care about me enough. He wasn’t on the surface like the other dads I admired. I didn’t stop to think that he had his struggles. He was just Dad, and a lousy one at that, I thought.

These decisions I made were not only untrue, but they were incredibly damaging. I was not mature enough to understand that the way my dad is and what he didn’t do is irrelevant to his love or care towards me. I know very little about his life except how it relates to me. Until therapy, it didn’t occur to me that perhaps his own experiences and emotional scars inhibited him as a father.

Overall, when I look back at the timeline of my relationship with my dad, I realize the greatest lesson I have received from it has been that of compassion. We expect our parents to be a certain way, but often don’t realize until later that they are flawed human beings just like us. They don’t have all the answers. They have limits that are different than their children. I would like to think that now I am better equipped to deal with other people that I don’t understand or connect with as well with more compassion, thanks to my dad.

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